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Sunday, October 9, 2022

OPINION:

Editor’s note: Instead of his regular column, Thom Loverro shares a postgame email he sent to John Mooney, managing director of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, after the Washington Commanders’ loss to the Tennessee Titans.

Mr. Mooney — I felt compelled to write to you concerning the testimony that Skipper Dan the Sailing Man Snyder presented to you and fellow gaming officials in August when you approved a sportsbook license at Ghost Town Field.


As was reported, Skipper Dan — who could only be heard via Zoom and not seen, because he was probably busy doing skipper things on his yacht — told you that he had big expectations for the crowds coming to see his new Commanders this NFL season.

“We’re going to have some big-time attendance shortly,” he told you.

I’m not sure what he meant by “shortly,” but if it was September or October … well, Skipper Dan might have been telling some fish stories. They can’t invite fans from the Philadelphia Eagles every week, so the crowd was down a bit for Sunday’s game against Tennessee — they claimed 51,836.

There was a large contingent of Titans fans who filled up the visitors’ side, but by Eagles crowd standards, Commanders fans made a decent showing. They were enthusiastic, too, but Carson Wentz knocked the enthusiasm out of them.

To be honest, Mr. Mooney, I am surprised when anyone shows up.

Speaking of the quarterback, Skipper Dan also told you they had big expectations for him, right? “We’re very, very optimistic also on the season,” he said. “We finally have ourselves a quarterback.”

Since Skipper Dan reportedly made these comments under oath, I felt the responsibility to let you know. They don’t have big-time attendance and they don’t have a quarterback. The boss might have been fibbing a bit.

Don’t be offended. Skipper Dan spent 11 hours remotely testifying under oath to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform about the toxic workplace inside this NFL franchise that he was in charge of for more than two decades. Imagine how many fish stories he told them.

Based on the letter his lawyer, former Republican congressman Tom Davis, the newest and latest Skipper Dan mouthpiece (he employs more lawyers than Albert Haynesworth did here), sent to committee Chairwoman Carol Maloney last week, I’ll bet he told some whoppers.

Among the stories in that nine-page letter was this whale of a tale — blaming former team president and general manager Bruce Allen for all the workplace abuses that have been laid at Skipper Dan’s docksiders feet.

“It is widely acknowledged that the single most significant step the Team took to remedy its toxic workplace was to rid itself of Mr. Allen,” Davis wrote.

Mr. Mooney, I realize I’m knee-deep in dirty water when I feel the need to absolve Bruce Allen. But the reality is that most of the accusations against Skipper Dan were from abuses that took place before Allen was hired in December 2009.

It’s like saying that Jim Zorn was responsible for this year’s 1-4 record.

No. this mess belongs to Ron Rivera.

Commanders fans had to wake up Sunday morning and watch their NFC East rivals, the New York Giants, upset the Green Bay Packers in London, 27-22. The Giants were as dysfunctional as they come on the football field last year, but now they are 4-1 and playing inspired football that most believe has been inspired by their new coach, Brian Daboll.

Rivera has been the opposite in his third year here, with uninspired coaching to go with an uninspired team.

Sunday’s loss was riddled with bad decisions, from time management to play-calling (they moved offensive coordinator Scott Turner back to the booth to call plays after they brought him down on the field to hold Wentz’s hand).

Where will they put him next? Maybe on Skipper Dan’s yacht to call plays via Zoom — after all, the world in which the owner exists, surrounded by people who are paid to agree with him, continues to shrink.

Did I say shrink? Mr. Mooney, please let me introduce you to the quarterback Skipper Dan bragged about — Wentz, banished from two NFL teams and on his way out of the league.

He had a remarkable 75-yard touchdown pass to Dyami Brown — the second-longest of his career. It was his 150th career touchdown pass. He completed 25 of 38 passes for a season-high 359 yards. His 10 touchdown passes through five games are tied for the second most through five games in franchise history.

Yet when the game was on the line at the end, he threw a goal-line interception that everybody in the stadium knew was coming.

It takes a pretty bad quarterback to have those impressive numbers and still be so repugnant.

High praise from Rivera? “He had his moments,” the coach said when asked to describe the quarterback he staked his reputation on when he traded for him before the Indianapolis Colts could put him on a barge on the Wabash River.

Rex Grossman had his moments.

Rivera had his moments, too. This one in the postgame press conference was priceless. “We’re going to work our butts off to get better,” he said. “That’s all we can do. That’s the truth of the matter. If you work and continue to work eventually it’s going to change and that’s what we’re trying to do. This is never going to happen overnight. When is it going to happen? I don’t know.”

The “truth” of the matter is not going to be found at Ghost Town Field, or in the team’s headquarters in Ashburn, Virginia, or on Skipper Dan’s yacht.

I feel the need to let you know, Mr. Mooney, as my duty as an American citizen, that you didn’t hear the “truth” of the matter in August. There is no big-time attendance. And there is no quarterback.

You can hear Thom Loverro on The Kevin Sheehan Show podcast.

• Thom Loverro can be reached at tloverro@washingtontimes.com.


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